Last week I downloaded a free resource I saw advertised on Facebook.
It was a series of email campaigns you could upload directly to InfusionSoft, to nurture your leads.
It came with a map, showing exactly how these emails related to each other and different sequences your subscribers could receive, depending on what they opened and clicked on.
Well, I say ‘map’….. But that implies clarity.
Actually, this document resembled a big pile of spaghetti – a scramble of lines and squiggles in every direction. It was impossible to make out even one clear email sequence.
It gave me a serious headache….
And actually made me very angry.
You see, time and again I come across good companies who are failing at their online marketing, because the systems and tools they put in place are just way too ambitious.
In their effort to find the “magic button” that brings in new clients consistently, they buy very sophisticated marketing automation systems (like Infusionsoft), which have all the bells and whistles – but are completely out of proportion to what they need. It’s like using a sledgehammer to crack the proverbial nut.
They kill themselves trying to maintain a presence on several different social media channels, and blog, and produce webinars….. And become paralysed by the attempt to build complex email sequences, with insane numbers of steps, just like the one I described to you above.
Because too often, business owners believe that in order for their online marketing to succeed, it needs to be “complicated”.
They see what the market leaders are doing, and conclude that they need to build something similar.
Many marketing ‘gurus’ (how I hate that word) create that impression deliberately, just like the marketer who created those email templates. They are constantly telling people they need bigger, better, more – because that’s what they’re selling.
It doesn’t help that all the buzzwords right now promote complexity: “omnichannel marketing”, “dynamic”, “responsive” and “agile” marketing and so on. Intimidating, right?
Is there any wonder that companies get into trouble implementing this stuff? Or give up altogether?
The problem is that these complicated systems are for very advanced marketers, who have built up their marketing systems over many years – not for regular SMEs. And – this is crucial! – nor are they strictly necessary.
Complexity bogs you down. You are unable to excel because your time and resources are stretched too thin. It can be hard to keep track of what marketing you have in place, and what’s working.
You lose sight of the basics.
By contrast, simple is clear.
Simple is efficient.
Simple allows you to focus on what really works, instead of on fancy distractions.
In reality, there are really only THREE things you need to have in place to succeed with your online marketing.
1. A good source of leads
2. A way of following up with your leads
3. An offer they want to take you up on.
Leads … Follow-up … Offer.
If you can get these working together, you have a start-to-finish system for finding good leads, building up a relationship with them, and turning them into customers.
That’s called a ‘sales funnel’.
Until you get this working, everything else is noise!
I honestly wouldn’t spend even a second faffing around with fancy videos that ‘get your name out there’, lengthy white papers that ‘establish us as thought-leaders’ and marketing automation systems that ‘can do so much’ until you have a reliable system in place to find, nurture and convert leads.
If you are struggling to generate business from your online marketing, take a step back, and make sure you have these basics covered.
Leads: Do you have just ONE really reliable way to generate them? This might mean connecting to hundreds of the right prospects on LinkedIn, creating a wildly popular eBook which your ideal clients download in droves, or maybe a landing page which generates regular enquiries – it really doesn’t matter, as long as it is reliable.
Follow-up: Once the leads are in your funnel, are you communicating with them regularly enough, and saying things that resonate with them, and build up trust?
Offer: Are you regularly giving your leads the opportunity to buy from you? And is your offer something they are actually interested in and take you up on, or are you going off on a different tangent? (Believe me, I see companies making offers that are less than compelling to their audience the entire time.)
And finally…….. Do all your leads systematically, get your follow up and then your offer, so that all three elements work together? Does the way you’ve structured this ‘sales funnel’ make sense? Have you signed up yourself, to see what people who go through your marketing system experience?
Brainstorm Digital, Devonshire House, Manor Way, Borehamwood, Herts WD6 1QQ, United Kingdom